Ad-funded Microsoft Works pilot starting soon

Ad-funded Microsoft Works pilot starting soon

Summary: Microsoft is now ready to talk turkey about the ad-funded version of its home/small-business productivity suite. "Microsoft is initiating a pilot program featuring an ad-funded version of Microsoft Works – Microsoft Works SE 9," officials said in the late afternoon on August 1.

TOPICS: Microsoft

On the afternoon of August 1, Microsoft finally decided to talk officially about its plans for an ad-funded version of Microsoft Works.

Courtesy of a Microsoft spokeswoman, via e-mail:

"Microsoft is initiating a pilot program featuring an ad-funded version of Microsoft Works – Microsoft Works SE 9."

"Since its release in 1986, Microsoft Works has been providing consumers with a low-cost solution for their productivity. Available in 3 3 languages and broadly distributed by OEM’s and through retail, Works continues to be an important offering for Microsoft partners and a great solution for customers.

"This pilot will be distributed by a select group of participating OEM’s and will be rolling out over the next few months - continuing through the middle of next year."

Microsoft also is continuing to provide a paid version of its Microsoft Works consumer/small-business productivity package. Version 9.0 of the non-ad-funded version of Works 9 product will sell for $39.95, according to a posting on Microsoft's Web site.

I've asked Microsoft for more info on the ad-funded version of Works. I will update this post once I hear back.

Update: Microsoft is willing to say very little beyond what is in its prepared statement about the Works 9 SE pilot. The company won't talk about which countries will be included, which OEMs will partake, how many users will participate, or the exact start/end dates for the ad-funded Works pilot.

The Works 9.0 SE (which isn't an acronym for anything, according to Senior Product Manager Melissa Stern) version will be a desktop-client product. Ads -- from vendors which Microsoft declined to disclose -- will appear in the Works task pane and task launcher. The ads will be served up by Microsoft's display-ad platform, Stern said.

Is Microsoft also preparing to launch a hosted service version of Works?  Stern declined to comment.

Topic: Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • This pilot will be distributed by a select group of participating OEM?s...

    WordPerfect will not be able to underprice that.

    (WordPerfect was able to displace Works from a number of inexpensive computer models by reducing its price to OEMs. The intent was to provide a limited office suite which would encourage buyers to upgrade. I think that the effort failed to produce much additional profit for WordPerfect.)
    Anton Philidor
    • Perhaps, but...

      ...OpenOffice, CAN underprice it and competition is good for the consumer in the end-it forces Microsoft to keep improving their software.

      The only way to compete with free is to make something that is significantly better than the free offering.
      • Perhaps but,,, no one seems

        to be clamoring for Open office.

        The only way to compete with free is to make something that is significantly better than the free offering.

        And both Works and MS Office are...
        • Your facts are missing

          20% of the worldwide home market, 7% of worldwide the corporate market and 20% of the world SMB market is trivial I suppose?

          Microsoft's #1 fight is preserving the Office cash cow margins, under extreme pressure from OO and hence the OOXML "standard" campaign. Nice try at helping the campaign, but to even to include OO and Works as comparable is laughable.

          I gave up replying to you a while ago, this is more for those who might believe what you say.

          Seems 20% fo the home market (93+ million confirmed installs date, not including bundled with Linux, StarOffice, copied and given away free, etc) are indeed choosing quality+free over quality+expensive (OO vs Word, again, Works, it's a toy).

          Look at the last line entry.

          The cats out of the bag, 1 in 5 use OO at home.


          P.S. I suppose you have some verifiable stats to back up your claim that "no one appears to be clamoring for Open Office".
  • Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

    Microsoft have always been experts at it.

    If they can't under-price a competitor,
    they'll give it away, until the competition
    is bankrupt and belly-up.

    May be a little more difficult if the
    competition is free also, though. How do
    they undercut that? Give away twice as much?

    Make a better product? ho ho! Like Vista?
    Ole Man
    • ?

      • You can't get there from here

        Unless you know where you are to start with.
        Ole Man
  • Who on earth uses ms-works?

    This appears to be more of a PR stunt for MS than anything else. How many people really use MS-works? No one I know of at work or otherwise uses it, techies or non-techies. So MS's modus seems to be to pick up something which no one cares about and release it for "free" in order to sway public opinion.
    • I do! (NT)

      Carl Rogers
    • The only problem with Works

      is the file format incompatibilities with MS Office. In early days sharing files between the two meant having to save to RTF or CSV, and even nowadays Works cannot read the more complex files created in Office (for instance, Works cannot read a spreadsheet file with multiple tabs, it can only import one tab at a time).

      But if MS goes with OOXML for Works, and allows for file sharing between the two programs where Works can at least read/write the documents Office creates even though it may not have all the features Office has, then I can see Works being a hit. Even if you look at Works even now and forget about the file formats, it has some pretty nifty templates for home users who have no computer experience but want to do things like financial planning, vacation planning, play around with various hobbies, and the like straight out of the box. It all taps on the various MS technologies of course. But if MS would get the file format issues squared away once and for all then I would find it hard to see OOo or Google being able to compete effectively with Works, at least on the Windows platform.
      Michael Kelly
  • works features?

    can you tell us what is in the new works?

    i actually really like that program but it is feature deficient. it is really sad because i actually understand how the database program works--i don't get access other than at a rudimentary level. if i could get the database to do email merges with word or the works word processor, i would use it. right now, i use an excel spreadsheet but i _hate_ having to scroll horizontally through the spreadsheet over and over rather than viewing a single page view that the works database offers.
  • Works free version

    I hope now that it is free doesnt mean it wont come pre-installed on new systems.
  • Ad funded my assets...

    the minute it starts to fail, it will be propped up by M$ bucks. Phhht. >:-/
  • RE: Ad-funded Microsoft Works pilot starting soon

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